Auto Sales Expected to Decline for Fourth Straight Month

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May 1, 2017—ALG, an industry authority on automotive residual value projections, projected total new vehicle sales in April will reach 1,440,200 units in April, down 3.9 percent from a year ago.

This month’s seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) for total light-vehicle sales is an estimated 17.1 million units for the month, down 1.9 percent from 17.4 million unit SAAR a year ago. Excluding fleet sales, U.S. retail deliveries of new cars and light trucks are expected to decline 4.8 percent with 1,190,657 units and down on a selling day adjusted basis at -1.2 percent.

“Despite higher incentives and nearly flat sales (on a daily sales rate basis), there is positivity in the April sales numbers,” said Eric Lyman, chief industry analyst for ALG. “Historical ALG data indicate Easter weekend sales are typically 2 percent lower than average, putting April 2017 at a disadvantage since the holiday fell in March last year. Also, fleet deliveries continue to drop on a year over year basis, indicating that retail demand is still driving sales in 2017.”

Incentive spending by automakers may average an estimated $3,465 per vehicle in April, up 13.9 percent from a year ago, and down 2.5 percent from March 2017.   

Other key findings for April:

  • Registration mix is expected to be 82.7 percent retail sales and 17.3 percent fleet versus 83.5 percent retail and 16.5 percent fleet last April.
  • Total used auto sales, including franchise and independent dealerships and private-party transactions, may reach 3,318,537, down 0.8 percent from April 2016

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